All-Time NHL Shutout Leaders

When Roberto Luongo retired in 2019, he finished 9th all time for most regular season shutouts in NHL history with 77. This is an amazing feat given that he finished ahead of Hall of Fame goalies Ed Belfour and Patrick Roy while playing on worse team for the most part.

Certainly, he is destined to join the Hall of Fame.



Of course, the number of shutouts a goalie gets in his career comes down to a lot more than just raw talent or even playing on good teams. You need to play in the right era, and you usually need a long and healthy career.


Tiny Thompson, arguably the best goalie ever born in British Columbia

When we look at the top nine, three played in the 1920s and 1930s, three played in the 1950s to 1970s, and three played more recently. There’s a reason that no one who played in the 1980s is on the list (scoring was a lot higher in the 1980s than in any other decade).


All of the goalies in the top of the list could have done even better.


Alec Connell

The first three had relatively short careers of 11 to 12 years, with George Hainsworth not starting until the age of 33.


By that age, Terry Sawchuk was well past his prime. Major injuries and a troubled life were starting to have an impact by his mid 20s, so it’s really amazing he did hold the record of 103 shutouts for so many decades. Had Sawchuk had access to modern equipment, including a helmet, not been a chain smoking alcoholic nervous wreck, and had he not died prematurely, he could have been a lot higher in the shutout department.


Of course, the only goalie to beat his total, Martin Brodeur, missed out on one season because of the NHL 2004/05 lockout, plus had a shortened season from another union-owners dispute. Luongo and Hasek also faced the same disruptions in their careers, so their total numbers would have likely been higher. Hasek’s especially would have been higher up the list had he played more in the NHL instead of in Europe.


Jacques Plante had a long and storied career, playing until his mid 40s, but asthma forced him to retire twice before his final retirement.


Jacques Plante defies his coach’s orders in 1959 by putting on a mask after taking a puck in the face.

And then there’s Glenn Hall, who perhaps played up to his potential the best of anyone on the list by playing an NHL record 502 games in a row at one point — a record that will never be beaten. Every year he threatened to retire and not show up for the next season, but the team would convince him. Finally, in 1971 at the age of 39 he packed it in for good. He could have squeezed out a few more years at that point, I’m sure, but he played over 900 games in just 18 years.


His numbers were somewhat compromised by playing on teams that weren’t top team, so had he played on a better team, Hall’s shutout totals would have likely been higher than 84, that’s if he would have gotten the same amount of healthy playing time that Chicago gave him.

All this to say, when you look at the shutout leaders, and you see that none of them lived up to their full potential, you know that even Brodeur’s record of 125 shutouts is a beatable record.


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BC’s 2020 Coldsnap Highlights Blue River’s Amazing Microclimate

Now that we survived another winter, we can look back and assess the impact.

In mid-January a severe cold snap struck the central interior of BC, the likes of which had not been seen in close to 30 years in some places. Such extremes did not make it to the south where temperatures didn’t even drop below last year’s lows (the south’s winter highlights came in the snow variety).

The coldest places in the province were in the central interior plateaus as well as Blue River. Blue River is a really interesting place because it’s the only town in the Cariboo-Columbia snowbelt that gets excessive amounts of snow and extremely cold temperatures. In fact, no matter which direction you turn from Blue River the temperature rises as much as 20 degrees Celsius in a relatively short distance (we’re talking under 50km away).


The town’s unique microclimate starts with the shelter provided by towering mountains on either side (it’s the least windy place on earth). Blue River is located on a widened area of the North Thompson valley where three valleys meet, and this allows cold, dense air to sink to the lowest point of land. The exit to the south is a bottleneck shape that pinches off the flow of cold air leaving the community. That is to say, it’s far easier for cold air to settle in the town than it is to leave.


The temperatures on the map below reflect the extreme lows set in mid-January. Notice how Mica Dam, under 50km to the east, is 20 degrees warmer. Up the valley the temperature was 10 degrees warmer, and similar downriver in Vavenby. Just south of Blue River the high elevation forestry station showed a temperature eight degrees warmer as did the high elevation snow pillow station to the west.


Blue River was not the coldest place in the province, but it was by far the coldest place in the area. The only other locales in BC below 700m elevation that achieved such extreme temperatures were Vanderhoof and Prince George where lows not seen in almost 30 years occurred.

Blue River gets extremely cold despite moderation that occurs being in a relatively humid rain forest/snowbelt environment.

The other locations in the province with extreme temperatures are in much drier climates so the cold is more widespread.


The cold places on the Chilcotin and Nechako plateaus in particular are very dry. Understand this, Tatla Lake and Chilanko Forks are drier than Osoyoos despite sitting more than three times the distance above sea level. The same elevation around Osoyoos and the south Okanagan receives about 50% more precipitation (rain and snow increases with elevation).

The drier the area, the more extreme the temperatures. Thus, the coldest place in BC is often at Puntzi Mountain (Chilanko Forks) — a relatively high elevation valley bottom (910m), no wind, and very dry air, generating cold temperatures not found elsewhere south of the Yukon border.


The map above shows all the extreme minimum temperatures set in January of 2020. The areas outlined in red were the coldest spots. As one goes uphill from the valley bottoms, the temperatures did rise dramatically, though not as much as they do in the Blue River area.

For example, McBride on the far right side of the map shows a seven degree rise in a very short distance. Another spot we can see this is the Tatla Lake area where the temperature rose from -46°C at 940m elevation to -38°C at 1600m elevation.

Finally, notice how highway 16 follows the valley bottom (low spot across the central part of British Columbia), and then notice how the temperature typically rises as you move away from the highway to higher elevations.

This is a general trend as there are some higher elevation valleys on the plateau that trap cold air like Nazko.


Notice how the temperature trends up as the elevation rises

The table below is a list of the coldest temperatures found across the province on January 14th and 15th, but take note that some weather stations were not working at the time that may have made the cut, namely Anahim Lake where one person recorded a temperature of -51°C in their yard.

I did not include that figure on the map because backyard thermometers are not calibrated very well and are often situated in non-standard locations. I do not know what kind of quality control goes into forestry and highway thermometers, but the steep decline in the number of Environment Canada stations means that we need them to map out the temperature.

The table below lists all government thermometers that recorded a low of at least -42 Celsius.


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The City of Kelowna claims this past winter (one of the warmest on record) was colder than normal!


This article was posted today, and I had to laugh out loud over the excuse given for the extra sand on the roads.

It’s because the winter we had was colder than normal, so we used a lot more sand than salt,” he says.

“Anything below -6 C, typically you’ll use sand or sand and salt mixed. But, some of those temperatures below 10 or 20 below, it would just be sand. So, we used a lot more sand.”

The above statement is nothing short of fake news because the winter of 2019/20 was actually one of the warmest on record. With data stretching back 111 years, this most recent winter weighs in at 20th warmest in Penticton, and the warmest winter since 2015/16. In Kelowna where records only go back to the 1960s, it was the 6th warmest winter on record.

I tried to be charitable by assuming that the City meant that there was an inordinate number of days below -6, -10, or -20, which could technically happen, but that was not the case at all.

The average number of days in Kelowna at or below -20°C is 3.1. The winter of 2019/20 saw 2. The average number of days hitting -10°C before March 1st is 20.9. This past winter measured 14. And finally, the average number of -6°C days in Kelowna before March 1st  is 44.1. Up to March 1st of this year saw a mere 38.

You might be thinking “but what about snowfall?”

Well, let’s check that. Kelowna no longer records snowfall, but Penticton and Vernon do. The September through February snowfall in Penticton was 60 cm. The normal is 54.6, so almost bang on the average. Vernon was a different story. The season of 2019/20 recorded 186.6 cm, which was almost 45% above the average of 128.7 cm.

So if we assume that Kelowna was more like its northern neighbour than its southern neighbour, the amount of sand on the roads was the result of above normal snowfall, and had absolutely nothing to do with temperature.

Three Pinocchios for Kelowna’s roadways operational supervisor.




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CBC: Goodbye, gas furnaces?


Reading this CBC article titled: “Goodbye, gas furnaces? Why electrification is the future of home heating” made me laugh because I compared  gas and electricity back 2018, and the answer was “no” then and the answer is still “no” today.

The main way to elevate the poor to the middle class is cheap energy, and abandoning natural gas in favour of electricity will not do it. Such a policy only marginally impacts the rich, but would drive many in the middle class back into poverty, and that’s why natural gas is here to stay.

To understand what I mean, let’s just look at my bill from December (and a warmer than average December at that).


We can visually represent this data with a pie chart.


As you can see, taxes already make more than 25% of the bill. By comparison, only 5% of electricity is tax.

The first question we should be asking ourselves is how much would the carbon tax have to go up before electric heat is more financially viable than gas? The answer is 12 times higher. Not only would that cost you an extra $60 to fill up your car with gas, but it will cost you thousands more per year to heat your home, whether you switch to electricity or not.

Let’s see how much it would cost to heat my home for a year with electricity instead of gas.

Since baseboard heaters are 100% efficient and gas furnaces are 80 to 95% efficient, electric heat would consume somewhere between 4,111 to 4,882 kWh to heat the same house. Let’s assume an 80% efficient furnace to give the maximum benefit to electricity, and further, let’s exclude all non-heating gas usage (BBQ, hot water tank, and range).

Basic setup for a proper comparison:

  • The gas service will still exist because of the BBQ, range, and hot water tank.
  • The gas consumption in the summer was 2 GJ/month, which can be assumed to be non-heat usage.
  • That works out to $241.99/year in gas consumed.
  • Over the past 12 months I consumed 122.7 GJ of gas.
  • Subtracting the 24GJ for non heat uses, I’m left with 98.7 GJ for heat.

Therefore, the total cost of the gas (Delivery Charges – basic charge + Commodity Charges + Taxes – taxes on basic charge) = $995.18

BC Hydro rates are far simpler than FortisBC.



Because my place always consumes more than the 1,332 kWh allocated in Step 1 (for every 2 month billing cycle), all heat would be at the Step 2 rate.  Assuming an 80% efficient gas furnace, we will require 21,933 kWh of electricity to heat my home. This works out to an additional $2,268.17 in heating costs/year.


Now, resistive heating (baseboard heating) was only one option provided in the article. The second alternative was an open air heat exchanger/heat pump. This would not work in most of Canada because the efficiency drops dramatically when it’s very cold out, and you would not be able to keep your house warm when the temperature is -30°C outside — you know, when you need the heat the most!

The ground source heat pump is the last option. This is a viable alternative, but it costs $20,000 or more up front, and saves you no money month to month. Even if you could manage a geothermal heat pump system that gives you 350% efficiency, you are no further ahead financially, even when you ignore your $20,000 initial investment.

Now, you might be thinking, “ah, but it’s not about the money, it’s about saving the environment!”

But is it really saving the environment? In some ways it is, but only if you use geothermal piping into the ground for $20,000. A geothermal source extracts heat from the water or air, so it can be well over 100% efficient (ie. produces more heat energy than it consumes in electrical energy).

Further questions do need to be answered, however. Namely, where is the electricity going to come from?

Almost all of BC’s energy needs are supplied by clean hydro electricity, but moving forward with electric cars being mandatory by 2040 and a push to electrify heating, there are no clean energy sources on the horizon to supply those needs.

You might be tempted to say: “but solar and wind!!!”

Unfortunately, wind and solar are almost non-existent during peak energy usage. Alberta has an energy crisis last week with peak electricity rates spiking to $10/kWh, and solar was at 0% of capacity and wind at 2%. All the solar panels were covered in snow and the wind was not blowing because extreme cold spells are always accompanied by calm conditions.

British Columbia has the luxury of the hydro dam legacy, but moving forward, we will face a day in the near future when we need more power. Site C will push off the inevitable by a decade or so, but beyond that, the only politically viable solution for base load power is natural gas.

That’s right, those who are switching to electricity from gas to save the environment will inevitably be getting that electricity from natural gas power plants.


Posted in Climate, Consumer Issues, Economics | 2 Comments

Why 50 Below Days in the Chilcotin Feel Warmer Than Elsewhere in Canada

Temperatures in central British Columbia plummeted to values not seen in over 20 years with several official stations recording temperatures below -40. The Environment Canada station at Puntzi Mountain in the Chilcotin recorded a low of -48.8 Celsius (56°F), and backyard thermometers in the Anahim Lake area were as low as -51°C (-60°F).

This cold air working its way into Alberta and beyond is causing media headlines to ring out about how Edmonton will be the coldest place on earth (even with temperatures in the -35°C range) — this is nothing but media propaganda, by the way.

Meanwhile, the afternoon temperature in Mayo, Yukon was a bone-chillingly cold -45°C today, and no one batted an eye — although, that’s probably because the eyelashes were all frozen shut.

lower sun pillar formed by diamond dust ice crystals

A Frosty Afternoon in the Central Yukon

This week has featured extremely cold temperatures in British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alberta, but why would central British Columbia feel so much warmer?

Stacked up against Alberta, the answer is mostly “wind.” When temperatures are below -40, even a light breeze makes the temperature “feel” much colder; frost bite is hastened that much quicker.

Like British Columbia, Yukon extreme cold spells lack wind, but central British Columbia has one huge advantage — more sunshine. The sun barely makes it above the horizon in the Yukon in the dead of winter, providing almost no daytime heating (the sun’s angle needs to be 4 or 5 degrees above the horizon to start warming the air).

The following two tables display hourly data from the only two weather stations in Canada to record -49° today: Puntzi Mountain, BC and Mayo, Yukon.

-49°C in the morning in Mayo, Yukon means -45°C by afternoon because very little daytime heating can occur. Meanwhile, Puntzi Mountain rose by 23°C (42°F) by the afternoon, achieving a downright balmy -26°C (and no windchill)!



The next table represents the hourly data for the coldest spot in Alberta today: Dapp (a small town north of Edmonton).

I did say that wind was the main reason Alberta feels colder when starting off the morning at the same temperatures, but there are some other factors such as temperature warm-up during the day. Alberta tends to have lower daily temperature swings because the wind reduces the pooling of cold air at night. The very coldest places in British Columbia’s central interior are in relatively high elevation, windless valley bottoms, so the cold air sinks during the night, and daytime heating of the this very dry air allows significant bounce-back.


British Columbia is a large and climatically diverse province which is why -50°C on the central interior plateaus is about as common as -30°C in the southern interior valleys. Additionally, when southern interior locations like Kelowna or Kamloops hit -30° the temperatures feel colder in the afternoons than they do in Anahim Lake with -50°C mornings. In addition to the wind, the southern interior valleys tend to cloud over with valley cloud that puts a lid on temperature fluctuations. Meanwhile, in Anahim Lake and Puntzi Mountain, the sun comes out, making the skin feel warmer than it does in cloudy Kamloops and Kelowna.

This morning’s low in Kamloops was a balmy -21.4°C, and the afternoon temperature had risen a mere 2.4° to -19°C. Factor in the wind, and Kamloops actually felt colder than Puntzi Mountain in the afternoon as shown in the following two tables.



That’s right, Kamloops felt colder than one of the 10 coldest places on earth today!


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Drill, Baby, Drill

Кольская_сверхглубокая_скважина_cropThe more I see articles over the years about scientists being on the cusp of drilling into the earth’s mantle, the less confident I become that they ever will. Maybe they will eventually, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Drilling through the earth’s crust has been going on since 1961, and with almost 60 years of exploring is seemingly no closer to the the goal. The Soviets drilled from 1970 to the early 1990s, the Germans tried in the 1980s and ’90s, the Americans have been trying since the 1960s, and more recently the Japanese and Chinese have been getting involved.

Here is a sample of the articles on more recent drilling attempts:

From 2005: Hole Drilled to Bottom of Earth’s Crust, Breakthrough to Mantle Looms

“The depth of the Moho varies. This latest effort, which drilled 4,644 feet (1,416 meters) below the ocean seafloor, appears to have been 1,000 feet off to the side of where it needed to be to pierce the Moho, according to one reading of seismic data used to map the crust’s varying thickness.”

From 2006: With Time Running Out, a Discovery Deep in the Crust of the Earth

From 2011: Drilling into Earth’s crust in search of answers

A team of scientists are hoping to retrieve the deepest types of rock ever extracted from beneath the seabed.

The drilling project, taking place off Costa Rica, will attempt to reach some 2km under the ocean floor.

The research team says its ultimate goal is to extract samples of rock from even further down, in the mantle layer below the Earth’s crust.


2012: Scientists planning $1 billion mission to drill into the Earth’s mantle

2016: A Decades-Long Quest to Drill Into Earth’s Mantle May Soon Hit Pay Dirt

Geologists have had to contend with bad luck, budget cuts and the race to the moon in their efforts to drill deep into our planet

2017: Scientists want to be first to drill into the Earth’s mantle

This one was a confirmed failure in 2019:
Japanese drill ship fails to reach the earthquake-generating zone

Chikyu drilled deeper into the seafloor than ever before, but could not reach point where tectonic plates meet.

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British Columbia Interior Election Results

These graphs show how people voted in all BC interior federal ridings. Because of boundary changes over the years (elimination of some ridings and additions of others), some district results only go back three elections. All major parties are shown in the graphs, plus any minor parties fielding candidates in 2019.

Some interesting observations:

  •  Like many of the neighboring Albera ridings, the Conservatives had their best showing ever in the northeast district of Prince George – Peace River – Northern Rockies.
  • Much of the Conservative vote shifted to the Liberals in 2015, but in 2019 shifted back for the most part, especially in the north.
  • From four years ago, the NDP and Liberals are down in every single riding.
  • The Conservatives and Greens are up in every riding (Greens had no candidate in 2015 in Kelowna – Lake Country).
  • Not shown on the graphs is the fact that the Christian Heritage Party spends more money in Skeena – Bulkley Valley than the Liberals do. No data for 2019 yet, but in 2015 it was $21,000 versus $9,000.












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